Council Discusses Waste Collection Changes

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BEN_5845_420x280_thumbBy Terry Rogers

On Monday, November 18, Milford City Council discussed changes to trash collection in the city. The city has been notified that as of January 1, 2014, all commercial trash customers must be offered recycling service as well as pick up for regular waste. City Manager Richard Carmean explained that adding recycling to commercial customers would cost the city a considerable amount of money. The city does not save money with the recycling program, as it is part of a state mandate, issued several years ago, that required all trash companies to offer recycling to their customers.

“There are some commercial customers that we pick up two or three times per week,” Mr. Carmean explained. “As it is now, we are losing $28,000 per year on commercial trash hauling. In addition, commercial customers use our service voluntarily, and they could stop using the service at any time.” Mr. Carmean suggested that the council consider eliminating commercial trash pickup in the city, effective January 1, 2014.

“We can still service the small size cans, but we have a few businesses who don’t want dumpsters on their property, so they have eight or nine cans,” Mr. Carmean said. “We would also stop servicing those customers. If we don’t eliminate the service, the cost will have to go up significantly.” Councilman Dirk Gleysteen said that the rate increase necessary to cover the service after the first of the year would probably cause many commercial customers to cancel city services anyway.

“We discussed looking at raising trash rates, but by eliminating the commercial service, we could keep the residential rates low,” Mr. Carmean said. Councilman Skip Pikus pointed out that residential customers were currently subsidizing the commercial customers. Public hearings must be scheduled before commercial trash pickup can be eliminated, but the council voted to allow Mr. Carmean to begin notifying commercial trash customers that the city was considering eliminating the service by January 1 in order to allow the customers to arrange for different service. The change would affect any business in Milford with a large dumpster, or with more than two small waste cans.

In other waste-related business, Mr. Carmean said that more information needed to be provided to residents regarding the leaf vacuum program. He said that many residents are bagging their leaves, which makes more work for city employees, as they must open and dump the leaves in order to vacuum them. In addition, Mr. Carmean asked that residents not rake leaves onto the sidewalk or into the street. Raking them into the street could cause them to wash into storm drains, leading to clogs that could result in flooding. He asked that residents simply rake the leaves into piles at the edge of the yard. For those concerned about leaves blowing, Mr. Carmean suggested a plastic tarp weighted down with bricks or other heavy objects. City employees can then simply fold the tarp back and collect the leaves.